Red Sox seventh-ranked prospect, Bryan Mata (starting pitcher)
This is another one that I might have a slightly tough time convincing people. Bryan Mata hasn’t pitched since 2019. First, COVID cancelled the 2020 MiLB season. Then right before the 2021 season started, the right-handed pitcher suffered an injury that forced him to get Tommy John surgery.
There’s a reason I’ve dubbed him “El Idolo” though. And it’s not just because Andrade was putting on banger matches in NXT every other week when I gave it to Mata.
Mata was usually one of the youngest people in his league every year. That didn’t stop him from dominating the competition though. He’s pitched in 69 career games. Mata has a 3.40 ERA, .242 BAA, 1.35 WHIP, and 307 strikeouts over 315 innings in that time.
He finished 2019 in Double-A and probably would’ve been to the Majors by now had he not gotten injured.
Let’s look at his last start. It featured El Idolo tossing a career-high seven innings. In that game he allowed zero runs on just one hit and five walks, striking out a career-high nine batters.
Mata has all the tools to be an absolute ace. He was the Red Sox top-rated pitching prospect for a while before the injury knocked him down.
This was one of the easier ones for me, despite saying it might be a little controversial. First of all, Mata is still just 23 (and he just turned 23 on May 3). Second, he’s still that ace-in-waiting. He was too good to not be seen as a great prospect arm despite the injury. And finally, his value is lowered. Having not played since 2019, I don’t think teams will be offering up big time talent and saying “yeah we’ll just take Mata in return”. He’ll be an extra-sweetener piece and that’s just wrong.
Boston will not be getting the proper return for the pitcher. So just don’t move him. And in a year-or-two when he’s a steady part of your rotation, you’ll be ecstatic that you kept on to such an absurdly talented pitcher.